Looking at both clubs as they prepare for Sunday’s Junior final the first thing to strike you is what a difference a year makes. The second proves the old adage that the harder you work the luckier you get. This time last year Killeeshil were resigning themselves to football in the third division in spite of a gallant effort late in the season to avoid the drop. Derrytresk were just Derrytresk, finishing well down the table with just eleven points to show for a complete season of football and a threat to nobody. Or so it appeared.
Fast forward twelve months and the entire landscape has changed for both sides. For the men from The Hill it shows clearly what can be achieved through commitment and hard work and a maturing of a couple of key players. They have had a fairly decent season in the league and in Niall Gavin have one of the best and most prolific scorers in the division. There were several times this year when his personal return in games exceeded ten points. The longer the season went on the better he became. In many ways that has been the story of Derrytresk’s season. They all bought into Paul Hughes’s ideas and things were moving along nicely as they climbed the league table.
Their season really got going however when they defeated a highly fancied and hotly tipped Dungannon Clarkes side in the championship. Following this they just grew in confidence and they have not looked back since. They play with great heart and self belief and these qualities are sure to help them on Sunday. They come into this game as outsiders with most people, in spite of what the teamtalkmag.com poll shows, expecting Killeeshil to complete the double. They are under no pressure but they know they are capable of winning this game if they play to their potential.
This year for Killeeshil has been in stark contrast with the previous twelve months as they lifted the league title with sixteen wins out of seventeen games. They looked a class apart at times but as Aghaloo showed in their championship encounter they are still vulnerable against a pacy mobile forward line. They have several very talented forwards but none with out and out pace and that might cause them problems against a side with the hunger and desire of Derrytresk.
Killeeshil are much more experienced than Derrytresk and are without doubt the best team in the division. However this is a one off, winner takes all scenario and Derrytresk will give their all in the quest for a victory. A win in this game means much more to them than to Killeeshil. Expect this to be a very competitive and committed game and if the Hill Men can maintain their self belief they just might sneak it.